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Two consultation reports were published by the government recently, outlining plans to make filing online compulsory for all businesses by April 2013. Value Added Tax and income tax will be dealt with online. HM Revenue & Customs aim to reduce running costs over the next four years, and becoming a paperless system will save £235 million. According to statistics released from the National Audit Office, running costs for HMRC are £3.6 billion which have to be reduced to £2 billion over a four year period.

Companies who registered for VAT before 1st April 2010 with turnover in excess of £100,000 have to submit a VAT return online. In this instance you also have to make payments online. If you registered on 1st April 2010 or later, you have to file online, no matter what your turnover is. From April 2012, all businesses who are registered for VAT will have to file online and make any payments for VAT electronically.

Anyone who starts a new business from April 2013, will have to register online for taxation purposes. HMRC have stated that online guidance will be provided to make online registration a simple process. However, some tax experts have reservations concerning compulsory online filing and payments. One tax partner with PKF, Neil Whyte, is concerned about security issues, which have been a problem for HMRC in recent times. He said:

“Pushing all tax communication online may save money for HMRC but making it mandatory would spark opposition from those who worry about data security, hardly a strong point for the tax authorities in recent years.”

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